So today’s Blog Hop is supposed to be about that book that you’d soon give up anything for – a date, sleep, chocolate, yadda yadda … I chose a book that was actually one of the very first ones I ever wrote a review for. There have been A LOT of books I’ve read and loved since this one and many that came before it. But when someone asks about a book that sticks with you, this is one I think of. I just absolutely love Gracie and can’t wait to share her with everyone.
Here is my original review of Falling for Gracie … I hope she becomes one of your favorites as well.
At least, that was Gracie’s plan at the ripe old age of fourteen. She loved eighteen-year-old heartthrob Riley with a desperation that made her a town legend. Even now that she’s all grown up, the locals in sleepy Los Lobos won’t let her forget her youthful crush.
And how can she, when she’s face-to-face with Riley at every turn? The onetime bad boy has come back to town seeking respectability—but the sparks that fly between them are anything but respectable! Gracie’s determined to keep her distance, but when someone sets out to ruin both their reputations, the two discover that first love is sometimes better the second time around.
I should start this review by saying that I love Susan Mallery’s books. They have, for me, just the right combination of humor, romance and relationship issues. Falling For Gracie was the first of her books that I read and is still one of my favorites.
Fourteen years ago Gracie Landon had a crush on Riley Whitefield. Her antics to separate him from his girlfriends made her a legend in their town. It even caused the town paper to run “The Gracie Chronicles” detailing her creativity, like the time she locked a skunk in his car for a few hours or when she nailed the doors and windows shut so his date couldn’t leave her house. In truth she was really a teenage stalker that embarrassed her family. When 18 year old Riley was forced to marry his pregnant girlfriend, Gracie was sent to stay with relatives so she couldn’t ruin the wedding. With the gossip lingering, her mother decided she would be raised by an aunt and uncle instead of returning to Los Lobos.
Now Gracie is a renowned wedding cake baker and back in town for a few weeks for her younger sister’s wedding. It’s uncomfortable for her, not only because the town continues to remind her of her childhood humiliation, but her time away from her family has made them strangers. Since they had a long distance relationship with sporadic visits, they don’t know the kind life that she led and make assumptions based on her actions before she left. She doesn’t have enough knowledge of her family to be able to understand how to deal with them. It creates uncomfortable situations and hurt feelings.
To make matters worse, a divorced Riley is also in town due to his uncle’s will which states that he will inherit millions but only if he wins the mayoral election. Gracie’s sister thinks her husband, who works as Riley’s campaign manager, is cheating on her so she enlists Gracie to help her learn the truth. She convinces Gracie to go to Riley’s to confirm he is actually working on the campaign and of course Riley catches her sneaking around. Although she is able to convince him that she hasn’t reverted to being a stalker, the situation with her sister’s marriage pushes them together, allowing for the requisite romantic sparks. Their troubles continue to mount when you add in Riley’s ex-wife, the shady dealings of the current mayor, and someone trying to ruin both Gracie’s business and Riley’s campaign.
Although there is a lot going on, I felt that Mallery was able to comfortably handle the mysteries, romance and familial interactions. Riley’s issues with his father, uncle, and even his mother make his decisions understandable. It is also easy to see how Gracie’s broken relationship with her siblings and her mother contributes to their awkward interactions. The way Gracie and Riley developed a relationship was enjoyable and I felt that how Gracie came to an understanding with her mother, though quick, was well handled. Although I think that Riley’s eventual resolution about his uncle and Gracie’s dealings with her sisters could have been expanded, overall I found this to be a fantastic story.
Mallery’s stories are at times funny and other times touching, but they are always entertaining and Falling for Gracie no different.
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I really hope you enjoyed the Spring Fling Blog Hop. If so, please make sure you go visit our organizers Good Tales Book Tours at www.goodtalesbooktours.com